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Safety and security tips from CPS

- Wits University

Wits' crime prevention expert wants Witsies to stay safe on and off campus, especially during the holidays. Read his advice to minimise incidents.

As South Africans prepare to unwind and spend time with family and friends, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and your family.

Sylvan Changuion, Crime Prevention & Liaison Manager at Wits Campus Protection Service (CPS) shares tips and resources to keep you and your family safe at home, on the road and while having fun this joyous time of year. Changuion has a long history in crime prevention having worked within the corporate and private sector in roles specifically aimed at assessing risk and developing measures to mitigate risk. He spent considerable time with the Child Protection Unit as an investigator as well as providing close protection services to 'at-risk individuals' and high nett worth persons.

Sylvan Changuion, Crime Prevention & Liaison Manager at Wits Campus Protection Services

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Advice to keep your home safe include:

Keep your home safe during the holiday season. Follow these tips to ensure your home is protected for any potential criminal attacks.

  • Arrange with your neighbours to take out the postal mail. Unattended mail says that nobody is home.
  • Make sure you have good lighting. Don’t leave the outside lights on during the day.
  • Don’t let too many people know when you are going on holiday, only those you trust.
  • Make sure your doors lock properly and that you have burglar bars.
  • If your house is broken into, notify the police and armed response company (if applicable) immediately.

If you are going on a road trip:

Many holidaymakers will be traveling on South Africa's roads this holiday season use the following road tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for you and your family.

  • Buckle up.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Keep a safe following distance.
  • Always be aware of your immediate surroundings as you approach or leave your vehicle.
  • Plan your trip, the route you will travel and where you will stop and rest overnight.
  • Make sure your car is road worthy.
  • Make sure you have a spare wheel and that it is in good condition and a jack.
  •  Make sure your luggage is in the trunk and that is closed properly.
  • Don’t approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
  • Keep all of your car doors locked and your windows closed while in or out of your car. Be sure to set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.

If you are travelling at night:

  • Try to avoid driving alone or at night.
  • Get enough sleep the night before a long trip, at least six hours.
  • Stop every two hours, taking 15-minute breaks. Pull over at a safe stop and rest for a little while.
  • Avoid driving between 01:00 am and 5:00 am.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious-looking people or vehicles.
  • Know where you are going, do not use unfamiliar routes to get home.
  • Lock your doors and close your windows.
  • If you are bumped from behind, head to the nearest police station or place of safety.
  • Never leave keys in your ignition to open gates.
  •  Don’t wait for your passengers, drive around the block, or get out of the car and lock the doors.
  • Beware criminals now pretend to be hitchhikers.
  • Do not get out to assist someone who seems to be in trouble. Inform the police by dialling the national emergency number 112 on your cellphone.

To ensure your safety while shopping:

Shopping centers are always a buzzing during the holiday season and sadly, crime increases during this time of the year, so it’s important to take the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe during shopping trips.

  • Never put your purse in the boot before entering a store. It doesn’t work, and thieves watch for you to do this in parking lots. It’s better to take the purse with you and carry it safely.
  • Never carry large amounts of cash. If you must, put it in your front pocket and try not to display it when paying at the till.
  • Ensure your money is not visible, especially large amounts.
  • Never leave gifts or anything of value visible inside your vehicle.
  • Don’t leave valuables in the trolley.
  • Hold your child’s hand and be alert of them at all times. Always accompany them to the bathroom.
  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lit area – avoid parking in areas that do not have lights.
  • Park as close as you can to your destination and be sure to note where you parked.
  • Do not leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children or pets inside.

Water safety tips:

The risk of drowning tragically increases with hot weather, and drowning can occur anywhere and to anyone. It is important to constantly assess any potential risks around water, particularly where children are concerned.

  • Ensure children have an adult present when swimming.
  • When you are entertaining a group of children or adults, have a designated water watcher who is responsible for keeping track of everyone.
  • Never leave children unattended in or around pools - not even for a second.
  • Only swim in a public pool or ocean if there is a lifeguard on duty.
  •  Never dive into the water unless the lifeguard says it is safe to do so.
  • Never run along the edge of a swimming pool or push people in.
  • Stay away from diving boards when in the pool.
  • Always keep chairs and tables away from the pool fence to keep children from using them to climb over the fence.
  • Do not allow anyone of any age to swim alone - drowning happens to adults too.

Campus Protection Service numbers

CPS is available at these numbers 24/7. The numbers below are also available at the back of your access card.

  • East Campus: (011) 717 4444 / 6666
  • West Campus (011) 717 1842
  • Health Sciences Campus: (011) 717 2222 / 2232
  • Education Campus: (011) 717 3340
  • Management School: (011) 717 3589
  • External Office Corner De Korte and Station Street (011) 717 6192

Sources: Wits Campus Protection Service, SAPS, Department of Transport, SANRAL and City of Johannesburg.